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As he withdraws his virtue, so they pass,
Long love to her has borne the faithful knight, And the same matter makes another mass : And well deserv'd, had Fortune done him right : This law th' Omniscient Power was pleas'd to give, 'Tis time to mend her fault; since Emily That every kind should by succession live! By Arcite's death from former vows is free : That individuals die, his will ordains,
you, fair sister, ratify th' accord, The propagated species still remains.
And take him for your husband and your lord, The monarch oak, the patriarch of the trees,
'Tis no dishonour to confer your grace Shoots rising up, and spreads by slow degrees; On one descended from a royal race : Three centuries he grows, and three he stays, And were he less, yet years of service past Supreme in state, and in three more decays; From grateful souls exact reward at last : So wears the paving pebble in the street,
Pity is Heaven's and yours; nor can she find And towns and towers their fatal periods meet : A throne so soft as in a woman's mind.” So rivers, rapid once, now naked lie, (dry. He said ; she blush'd; and, as o'eraw'd by might, Forsaken of their springs; and leave their channels Seem'd to give Theseus what she gave the knight. So man, at first a drop, dilates with heat,
Then turning to the Theban thus he said ; Then, form'd, the little heart begins to beat ; “ Small arguments are needful to persuade Secret he feeds, unknowing in the cell ;
Your temper to comply with my command;" At length, for hatching ripe, he breaks the shell, And speaking thus, he gave Emilia's hand. And struggles into breath, and cries for aid; Smil'd Venus, to behold her own true knight Then, helpless, in his mother's lap is laid.
Obtain the conquest, though he lost the fight ; He creeps, he walks, and, issuing into man, And bless'd with nuptial bliss the sweet laborious Grudges their life, from whence his own began :
night. Reckless of laws, affects to rule alone,
Eros, and Anteros, on either side, Anxious to reign, and restless on the throne : One fir'd the bridegroom, and one warm’d the bride ; First vegetive, then feels, and reasons last; And long-attending Hymen, from above, Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Shower'd on the bed the whole Idalian grove. Some thus; but thousands more in flower of age : All of a tenour was their after-life, For few arrive to run the latter stage.
No day discolour'd with domestic strife; Sunk in the first, in battle some are slain,
No jealousy, but mutual truth believ'd, And others whelm'd' beneath the stormy main.
Secure repose, and kindness undeceiv'd.
the queen of love long duty bless, To make a virtue of necessity.
And all true lovers find the same success.
THE WIFE OF BATH.
Whose acts and fame to foreign lands were blown; From future shame, from sickness, and from grief: The king of elfs and little fairy queen Enjoying while we live the present hour,
Gambold on heaths, and danc'd on every green; And dying in our excellence and flower,
And where the jolly troop had led the round, Then round our death-bed every friend should run,
unbidden rose, and mark'd the ground : And joyous of our conquest early won :
Nor darkling did they glance, the silver light While the malicious world with envious tears Of Phæbe serv’d to guide their steps aright, Should grudge our happy end, and wish it theirs. And, with their tripping pleas'd, prolong the night. Since then our Arcite is with honour dead,
Her beams they follow'd, where at full she play'd, Why should we mourn, that he so soon is freed, Nor longer than she shed her horns they stay'd, Or call untimely what the gods decreed?.
From thence with airy flight to foreign lands convey'd. With grief as just, a friend may be deplor'd, Above the rest our Britain held they dear, From a foul prison to free air restor'd.
More solemnly they kept their sabbaths here, [year. Ought he to thank his kinsman or his wife,
And made more spacious rings, and revel'd half the Could tears recall him into wretched life?
I speak of ancient times, for now the swain Their sorrow hurts themselves; on him is lost; Returning late may pass the woods in vain, And, worse than both, offends his happy ghost. And never hope to see the nightly train : What then remains, but, after past annoy,
In vain the dairy now with mint is dress'd, To take the good vicissitude of joy?
The dairy-maid expects no fairy guest To thank the gracious gods for what they give, To skim the bowls, and after pay the feast. Possess our souls, and, while we live, to live? She sighs, and shakes her empty shoes in vain, Ordain we then two sorrows to combine,
No silver penny to reward her pain : And in one point th' extremes of grief to join ; For priests with prayers and other goodly geer, That thence resulting joy may be renew'd,
Have made the merry goblins disappear : As jarring notes in harmony conclude.
And where they play'd their merry pranks before, Then I propose that Palamon shall be
Have sprinkled holy water on the floor : In marriage join'd with beauteous Emily;
And friars that through the wealthy regions run, For which already I have gain'd th' assent
Thick as the motes that twinkle in the sun, Of my free people in fil perliament.
Resort to farmers richi, and bless their halls, Yet (lest, surpris'd, unknowing what to say,
Good sureties will we have for thy return;
That at the time prefix'd thou shalt obey, With gown tuck'd up, to wakes, for Sunday next; And at thy pledge's peril keep thy day.' With humming ale encouraging his text;
Woe was the knight at this severe command :
He put in bail for his return again,
The best, with Heaven's assistance, he could find. For by some haycock, or some shady thorn,
His leave thus taken, on his way he went
Misdoubting much, and fearful of th' event.
Thus on he went; still anxious more and more, In russet robes to market took her way :
Ask'd all he met, and knock'd at every door ; Soon on the girl he cast an amorous eye,
Enquir'd of men ; but made his chief request So straight she walk'd, and on her pasterns high: To learn from women what they lov'd the best. If seeing her behind he lik'd her pace,
They answer'd each according to her mind Now turning short, he better likes her face.
To please herself, not all the female kind. He lights in haste, and, full of youthful fire, One was for wealth, another was for place: By force accomplish'd his obscene desire :
Crones, old and ugly, wish'd a better face. This done, away he rode, not unespy'd,
The widow's wish was oftentimes to wed; For swarming at his back the country cry'd : The wanton maids were all for sport a-bed. And once in view they never lost the sight, Some said the sex were pleas’d with handsome lies, But seiz’d, and pinion'd, brought to court the knight. And some gross flattery lov'd without disguise :
Then courts of kings were held in high renown, “ Truth is,” says one, “ he seldom fails to win Ere made the common brothels of the town : Who flatters well; for that's our darling sin : There, virgins honourable vows receiv'd,
But long attendance, and a duteous mind, But chaste as maids in monasteries liv'd :
Will work ev'n with the wisest of the kind." The king himself, to nuptial ties a slave,
One thought the sex's prime felicity No bad example to his poets gave:
Was from the bonds of wedlock to be free: And they, not bad, but in a vicious agc,
Their pleasures, hours, and actions, all their own, Had not, to please the prince, debauch'd the stage. And uncontrol'd to give account to none. Now what should Arthur do? He lov'd the Some wish a husband-fool: but such are curst, knight,
For fools perverse of husbands are the worst : But sovereign monarchs are the source of right: All women would be counted chaste and wise, Mov'd by the damsel's tears and common cry, Nor should our spouses see, but with our eyes ; He doom'd the brutal ravisher to die.
For fools will prate ; and though they want the wit But fair Geneura rose in his defence,
To find close faults, yet open blots will hit : And pray'd so hard for mercy from the prince, Though better for their ease to hold their tongue, That to his queen the king th' offender gave,
For woman-kind was never in the wrong. And left it in her power to kill or save :
So noise ensues, and quarrels last for life; This gracious act the ladies all approve,
The wife abhors the fool, the fool the wife. Who thought it much a man should die for love; And some men say that great delight have we, And with their mistress join’d in close debate To be for truth extoll’d, and secrecy : (Covering their kindness with dissembled hate) And constant in one purpose still to dwell; If not to free him, to prolong his fate.
And not our husbands' counsels to reveal. At last agreed they call'd him by consent
But that's a fable : for our sex is frail, Before the queen and female parliament.
Inventing rather than not tell a tale. And the fair speaker rising from the chair,
Like leaky sieves no secrets we can hold: Did thus the judgment of the house declare. Witness the famous tale that Ovid told.
“ Sir knight, though I have ask'd thy life, yet still Midas the king, as in his book appears, Thy destiny depends upon my will :
By Phæbus was endow'd with ass's ears, Nor hast thou other surety than the grace
Which under his long locks he well conceald, Not due to thee from our offended race.
As monarchs' vices must not be reveal’d, But as our kind is of a softer mold,
For fear the people have them in the wind, And cannot blood without a sigh behold,
Who long ago were neither dumb nor blind : I grant thee life: reserving still the power Nor apt to think from Heaven their title springs To take the forfeit when I see my hour:
Since Jove and Mars left off begetting kings Unless thy answer to my next deinand
This Midas knew : and durst communicate Shall set thee free from our avenging hand. To none but to his wife his cars of state : The question, whose solution I require,
One must be trusted, and he thought her fit, Is, What the sex of women most desire ?
As passing prudent, and a parlous wit. In this dispute thy judges are at strife;
To this sagacious ccnfessor he went, Betrare ; for on thy wit depends thy life.
And told her what a gift the gods had sent :
But told it under matrimonial seal,
Now could you help me at this hard essay, With strict injunction never to reveal.
Or for your inborn goodness, or for pay; The secret heard, she plighted him her troth, Yours is my life, redeem'd by your advice, (And sacred sure is every woman's oath)
Ask what you please, and I will pay the price : The royal malady should rest unknown,
The proudest kerchief of the court shall rest
Thy danger over, and perform'd thy task,
Here take thy oath, and seal it on my hand;
I warrant thee, on peril of my life, Loth to betray a husband and a prince,
Thy words shall please both widow, maid, and wife.' But she must burst, or blab : and no pretence More words there needed not to move the knight, Of honour ty'd her tongue from self-defence. To take her offer, and his truth to plight. A marshy ground commodiously was near, With that she spread a mantle on the ground, Thither she ran, and held her breath for fear, And, first inquiring whither he was bound, Lest if a word she spoke of any thing,
Bade him not fear, though long and rough the way, That word might be the secret of the king. At court he should arrive ere break of day; Thus full of counsel to the fen she went,
His horse should find the way without a guide, Grip'd all the way, and longing for a vent; She said : with fury they began to ride, Arriv’d, by pure necessity compellid,
He on the midst, the beldam at his side. On ber majestic marrow-bones she kneelid : The horse, what devil drove I cannot tell, Then to the water's brink she laid her head
But only this, they sped their journey well: And, as a bittour bumps within a reed,
And all the way the crone inform’d the knight, “ To thee alone, O Lake,” she said, “ I tell, How he should answer the demand aright. (spread (And, as thy queen, command thee to conceal): To court they came; the news was quickly Beneath his locks the king my husband wears Of his returning to redeem his head. A goodly royal pair of ass's ears.
The female senate was assembled soon, Now I have eas'd my bosom of the pain,
With all the mob of women of the town :
The queen sate lord chief justice of the hall,
The knight appear’d; and silence they proclaim:
To name the thing that women most desir’a.
Th' offender, taught his lesson by the way,
Thus bold began: “ My lady liege," said he, In this despairing state he hapt to ride
“ What all your sex desire is sovereignty. As Fortune led him, by a forest side :
The wife affects her husband to command : Lonely the vale, and full of horrour stood,
All must be hers, both money, house, and land. Brown with the shade of a religious wood :
The maids are mistresses ev’n in their name; When full before him at the noon of night,
And of their servants full dominion claim, (The Moon was up, and shot a gleamy light) This, at the peril of my head, I say, He saw a quire of ladies in a round,
A blunt plain truth, the sex aspires to sway, That featly footing seem'd to skim the ground : You to rule all, while we, like slaves, obey.' Thus dancing hand in hand, so light they were, There was not one, or widow, maid, or wife, He knew not where they trod, on earth or air. But said the knight had well deserv'd his life, At speed be drove, and came a sudden guest, Ev'n fair Geneura, with a blush, confess'd In hope where many women were, at least,
The man had found what women love the best. Some one by chance might answer his request. Up starts the beldam, who was there unseen : But faster than his horse the ladies flew,
And, reverence made, accosted thus the queen. And in a trice were vanish'd out of view,
“ My liege,” said she, “ before the court arise, One only hag remain'd: but fouler far
May 1, poor wretch, find favour in your eyes, Than grandame apes in Indian forests are ; To grant my just request : 'twas I who taught Against a wither'd oak she lean'd her weight, The knight this answer, and inspir’d his thought. Propp'd on her trusty staff, not half upright, None but a woman could a man direct And dropp'd an aukward court'sy to the knight. To tell us women, what we most affect. Then said, “ What makes you, sir, so late abroad But first I swore him on his knightly troth, Without a guide, and this no beaten road?
(And here demand performance of his oath) Or want you aught that here you hope to find, To grant the boon that next I should desire; Or travel for some trouble in your mind ?
He gave his faith, and I expect my hire: The last I guess ; and if I read aright,
My promise is fulfill'd: I sav'd his life,
To this the knight: “Good mother, would you The women, who would rather wrest the laws,
And more attent, to brothers of the bar,)
Cry'd one and all, the suppliant should have right, Make gentlemen, and that your high degree
In vain he sigh'd, and oft with tears desir'd, Know this, my lord, nobility of blood
Is but a glittering and fallacious good : But still the crone was constant to her note: The nobleman is he whose noble mind The more he spoke, the more she stretch'd her throat. Is fill'd with inborn worth, unborrow'd from his kind. In vain he proffer'd all his goods, to save
The King of Heaven was in a manger laid; His body destin'd to that living grave.
And took his earth but from an humble maid ; The liquorish hag rejects the pelf with scorn; Then what can birth, or mortal men, bestow? And nothing but the man would serve her turn. Since floods no higher than their fountains flow. “ Not all the wealth of eastern kings,” said she, We, who for name and empty honour strive, “ Have power to part my plighted love and me: Our true nobility from him derive. And, old and ugly as I am, and poor,
Your ancestors, who puff your mind with pride, Yet never will I break the faith I swore;
And vast estates to mighty titles ty'd, For mine thou art by promise, during life, Did not your honour, but their own, advance; And I thy loving and obedient wife.
For virtue comes not by inheritance.
No father can infuse or wit or grace;
Were virtue by descent, a noble name
Could never villanize his father's fame : And all day after hid him as an owl,
But, as the first, the last of all the line Not able to sustain a sight so foul.
Would like the Sun even in descending shine; Perhaps the reader thinks I do him wrong,
Take fire, and bear it to the darkest house, To pass the marriage feast and nuptial song: Betwixt king Arthur's court and Caucasus; Mirth there was none, the man was à-la-mort, If you depart, the flame sball still remain, And little courage had to make his court.
And the bright blaze enlighten all the plain : To bed they went, the bridegroom and the bride: Nor, till the fuel perish, can decay, Was never such an ill-pair'd couple ty'd :
By Nature form'd on things combustible to prey. Restless he toss'd, and tumbled to and fro, Such is not man, who, mixing better seed And rolld and wriggled further off for woe. With worse, begets a base degenerate breed : The good old wife lay smiling by his side,
The bad corrupts the good, and leaves behind And caught him in her quivering arms, and cry’d, No trace of all the great begetter's mind. “When you my ravish'd predecessor saw,
The father sinks within his son, we see, You were not then become this man of straw; And often rises in the third degree; Had you been such, you might have 'scap'd the law. If better luck a better mother give, Is this the custom of king Arthur's court ? Chance gave us being, and by chance we live. Are all round-table knights of such a sort ? Such as our atoms were, even such are we, Remember I am she who sav'd your life,
Or call it chance, or strong necessity : Your loving, lawful, and complying wife :
Thus loaded with dead weight, the will is free. Not thus you swore in your unhappy hour, And thus it needs must be for seed conjoin'd Nor I for this return employ'd my power.
Lets into nature's work th' imperfect kind; In time of need, I was your faithful friend; But fire, th' enlivener of the general frame, Nor did I since, nor ever will offend.
Is one, its operation still the same. Believe me, my lov'd lord, 'tis much unkind; Its principle is in itself: while ours What Fury has possess'd your alter'd mind? Works, as confederates war, with mingled powers; Thus on my wedding-night without pretence Or man or woman, whichsoever fails : Come turn this way, or tell me my offence. And, oft, the vigour of the worse prevails. If not your wife, let reason's rule persuade; Ether with sulphur blended alters hue, Name but my fault, amends shall soon be made.” And casts a dusky gleam of Sodom blue. “ Amends! nay that's impossible,” said he; Thus, in a brute, their ancient honour ends, “ What change of age or ugliness can be ?
And the fair mermaid in a fish descends: Or, could Medea's magic mend thy face,
The line is gone; no longer duke or earl;
But, by himself degraded, turns a churl.
Of thy great fathers by their virtue known,
And a long trail of light, to thee descending down. “ And is this all that troubles you so sore?” If in thy smoke it ends, their glories shine ; “ And what the devil could'st thou wish me more?” But infamy and villanage are thine. “ Ah, Benedicite," reply'd the crone :
Then what I said before is plainly show'd, “ Then cause of just complaining have you none. The true nobility proceeds from God : The remedy to this were soon apply'd,
Nor left us by inheritance, but given Would you be like the bridegroom to the bride : By bounty of our stars, and grace of Heaven. But, for you say a long descended race,
Thus from a captive Servius Tullius rose, And wealth, and dignity, and power, and place,
Whom for his virtues the first Romans chose :
Fabricius from their walls repell’d the foe,
“ Then thus in peace," quoth she, “ concludes Whose noble bands had exercis'd the plough.
the strife, From hence, my lord and love, I thus conclude, Since I am turn'd the husband, you the wife: That though my homely ancestors were rude, The matrimonial victory is mine, Mean as I am, yet I may have the grace
Which, having fairly gain'd, I will resign; To make you father of a generous race:
Forgive if I have said or done amiss, And noble then am I, when I begin,
And seal the bargain with a friendly kiss : In Virtue cloath'd, to cast the rags of Sin.
I promis'd you but one content to share, If poverty be my upbraided crime,
But now I will become both good and fair, And you believe in Heaven, there was a time No nuptial quarrel shall disturb your ease; When He, the great controller of our fate, The business of my life shall be to please : Deign'd to be man, and liv'd in low estate : And for my beauty, that, as time shall try ; Which he, who had the world at his dispose, But draw the curtain first, and cast your eye." If poverty were vice, would never choose.
He look'd, and saw a creature heavenly fair, Philosophers have said, and poets sing,
In bloom of youth, and of a charming air. That a glad poverty's an honest thing.
With joy he turn'd, and seiz'd her ivory arm; Content is wealth, the riches of the mind;
And like Pygmalion found the statue warm. And happy he who can that treasure find.
Small arguments there needed to prevail, But the base miser starves amidst his store,
A storm of kisses pour'd as thick as hail. Broods on his gold, and, griping still at more, Thus long in mutual bliss they lay embrac'd, Sits sadly pining, and believes he's poor.
And their first love continued to the last : The ragged beggar, though he want relief,
One sunshine was their life, no cloud between; Has not to lose, and sings before the thief.
Nor ever was a kinder couple seen. Want is a bitter and a hateful good,
And so may all our lives like theirs be led ; Because its virtues are not understood :
Heaven send the maids young husbands fresh in Yet many things, impossible to thought,
And some devouring plague pursue their lives, Prudence at once, and fortitude, it gives,
Who will not well be govern'd by their wives. And, if in patience taken, mends our lives; For ev'n that indigence, that brings me low, Makes me myself, and Him above, to know. A good which none would challenge, few would
choose, A fair possession, which mankind refuse.
CHARACTER OF A GOOD PARSON. If we from wealth to poverty descend, Want gives to know the flatterer from the friend. A PARISH priest was of the pilgrim-train; If I am old and ugly, well for you,
An awful, reverend, and religious man. No lewd adulterer will my love pursue;
His eyes diffus'd a venerable grace, Nor jealousy, the bane of marry'd life,
And charity itself was in his face. Shall haunt you for a wither'd homely wife;
Rich was his soul, though his attire was poor, For age and ugliness, as all agree,
As God had cloth'd his own ambassador, Are the best guards of female chastity.
For such, on Earth, his bless'd Redeemer bore. “ Yet since I see your mind is worldly bent, Of sixty years he seem’d; and well might last I'll do my best to further your content.
To sixty more, but that he liv'd too fast; And therefore of two gifts in my dispose,
Refin'd himself to soul, to curb the sense ; Think ere you speak, 1 grant you leave to choose ;
And made almost a sin of abstinence. Would you I should be still deform'd and old, Yet, had his aspect nothing of severe, Nauseous to touch, and loathsome to behold; But such a face as promis'd him sincere. On this condition to remain for life
Nothing reserv'd or sullen was to see : A careful, tender, and obedient wife,
But sweet regards, and pleasing sanctity : In all I can, contribute to your ease,
Mild was his accent, and his action free. And not in deed, or word, or thought, displease ? With eloquence innate his tongue was arm’d; Or would you rather have me young and fair, Though harsh the precept, yet the people charm’d And take the chance that happens to your share ? For, letting down the golden chain from high, Temptations are in beauty, and in youth,
He drew his audience upward to the sky: And how can you depend upon my truth?
And oft with holy hymns he charm'd their ears, Now weigh the danger with the doubtful bliss, (A music more melodious than the spheres,) And thank yourself if aught should fall amiss.' For David left him, when he went to rest, Sore sigh'd the knight, who this long sermon His lyre; and after him he sung the best. heard;
He bore his great commission in his look :
And warn’d the sinner with becoming zeal;
He taught the gospel rather than the law;
And forc'd himself to drive; but lov'd to draw, Provide, and order all things for the best ;
For Fear but freezes minds : but Love, like heat, Yours be the care to profit, and to please :
Exhales the soul sublime, to seek her native seat
N4 And let your subject servant take his ease.”